Sunday, February 19, 2017

Are Passages on Old Testament Strangers A Legitimate Basis for Taking Refugees into the Country?

The ceremonial and judicial laws of the Old Testament do not mandate positions for modern government or church policy.  They apply in certain ways today, but not like they did to ancient Israel.  With this regard, I draw your attention to professing Christian organizations that use the statutes or precepts of Mosaic law to push a certain agenda on the acceptation of refugees into the United States.  The Lutheran World Federation writes:
The Torah makes thirty-six references to honoring the “stranger.” The book of Leviticus contains one of the most prominent tenets of the Jewish faith: “The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:33-34). Further, the Torah provides that "You shall not oppress the stranger, for you know the soul of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9)
Many religious institutions and even evangelical church leaders used the same argumentation for accepting in refugees.  The following might not be their favorite "the stranger" verses.
Leviticus 24:16, 22, "And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death. . . . Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God." 
Numbers 1:51, "And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death." 
Numbers 3:10, 38, "And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. . . . But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death." 
Numbers 18:7, "Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for every thing of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death."
In these verses, the strangers are put to death.  God expected His people to kill strangers too.  When? When they violated His laws.  To come and stay in the land, the stranger must assimilate.  The same people who like to quote Leviticus 19 would not favorably quote these passages.  You can't have the former without the latter.

Legal strangers are welcome.  Law abiding strangers are welcome.  It's easy to see that this was the policy of God, when one considers the Gibeonites.  If you read Joshua 9, you can see that Israel's leadership compromised what God commanded by allowing them into the land.  If you were a stranger, you had to convert in order to stay in the land.  There was a lot to which to acquiesce in the law of God, much more than what is required of someone to come to the United States.  However, it is easy to see that you can't use the example of "the strangers" of the Old Testament as a basis for accepting refugees into the country.

The above style of interpretation and application of scripture could be the SJW Bible, Social Justice Warrior, that plucks passages out of context and misinterprets them.  If someone came to Israel with the desire to convert to God's ways, they were to be welcomed.  We live in a country that has abandoned its founding principles, so it's no wonder anyone can arrive and stay with no assimilation. What is anyone supposed to assimilate to?

The laws of God placed upon Israel, to which the stranger must submit to stay, are far, far more strict than anything required of a legal immigrant to the United States.  Obviously the United States cares about the stranger.  Like almost everyone says, it is a nation of strangers.  But you can't use those Old Testament passages without the context of what welcoming a stranger means.  You must accept it all or none, if you are going to use it as any kind of authority for your position.

The way that religious folk handle their social justice passages is wrong and/or a lie.  It's a form of propaganda, but worse.  It is perverting scripture to use for their purposes.  However, it is also very much a portrait of evangelicalism with its emphasis on "love" and not holiness.  I say "love" in quotes, because there is no love without holiness.  God isn't going to welcome the stranger into heaven without receiving the truth, His truth, the only truth.

2 comments:

Josh Burkholder said...

Boom! God will not allow a stranger to assimilate in Heaven apart from salvation. The individual is vetted based on faith in Christ. All of us that are sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption will have access into heaven. If there is no boundary, standard, (or dare I say wall) why must I believe?

The SJW likes to impose their proof texting on people. The Old Testament is filled with warnings about the intermarrying with the pagan nations. Those nations did not have the same value system as the Israel. The had poly-gods, and Israel had Jehovah God. Every time Israel faced judgement, it was because they replaced the one true God with other gods.

It is sad to see how far our culture has drifted from Biblical principles that it needs to twist Scripture to fit its political paradigm. It is also disheartening to see the how culture's influence usurp biblical thinking in the evangelical community.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Josh,

I agree with everything you said, and I am thankful for the verbal support. These are unusual times, as far as this country is concerned.